Film-filled Krakow at the 68th Berlin International Film Festival Berlinale 2018
For the first time in history, three Krakow international film festivals will join forces to promote themselves at the Berlinale, which starts tomorrow. The Krakow Film Project is the outcome of three diverse, yet complementary events: Off Camera, Krakow Film Festival and Krakow Film Music Festival. With Berlin hosting the international première of Małgorzata Szumowska’s Mug, a serious Golden Bear contender whose co-funded by Krakow, Krakow will present itself as a strong player in the film industry.
– In my opinion, combined efforts and joint promotion at one of the major film industry events is the key to success, especially in as highly competitive an industry as film, said Krakow’s President Jacek Majchrowski, and went on to say: Polish and non-Polish film productions are often filmed on locations in Krakow, and our Film Commission is working hard on Krakow’s film-friendly image: we provide financial support and help organise film sets. If we succeed in speaking with one voice at the Berlinale, we will send out a strong, coherent and consistent message to the film industry: come to Krakow and make films here!
What did Krakow prepare for the Berlinale? First and foremost, a joint invitation to all three film festivals which will be announced thrice in a special festival-related edition of the prestigious Variety magazine. Moreover, Polish stands will screen a video about the scale, quality and multitude of outstanding guests, i.e. participants of OFF Camera, Krakow Film Festival and Krakow Film Music Festival. The aim of all these efforts is to make Berlinale’s annual massive audience aware that from April to June, Krakow hosts internationally acclaimed directors, actors, composers and budding talents.
Krzystof Gierat, Krakow Film Festival Director, is looking forward to this cooperation and emphasises: – We are as diverse as films are, but we have only one viewer. Everything we do is targeted at that cinema buff who loves the magical atmosphere of the dark cinema room and the group viewing ritual. We want to get our message across to that very person, and what we want to say is “You will spend this month at the cinema”.
Krakow will also participate in the Main Competition of the International Berlin Film Festival. Małgorzata Szumowska’s new Mug, co-produced by the Krakow Festival Office, will run for the main prize. The film tells a contemporary tale of a man who lost his face in an accident. After breakthrough surgery gives him a new one, he returns to his family home. The people there, however, don’t know how to go about his changed appearance. He becomes a stranger to them. Mateusz Kościukiewicz plays the lead role. Szumowska’s resume already includes the 2015 Silver Bear for “Best Director” of “Body/Ciało” and a distinction for her earlier “In the Name of…”, starring Andrzej Chyra as its male lead. The Golden Bear verdict will be announced on 24 February.
The director is one of the winners of Off Camera. – The festival appreciates artists who speak with their own voice and tackle subjects which make us think and affect our reality. Its philosophy follows the spirit of Krakow by showing that differences don’t have to divide us – they can bring us together and inspire us to work together – says Szymon Miszczak, Festival Director. During the 11th edition (April 27 – May 6), Off Camera will transform the city’s space into open-air cinemas. Szczepanski Square will house open-air cinemas and the Vistula Boulevards will get their own cinema. Special screenings will be held on the rooftops of Krakow tenement houses. The artists themselves will explain independent films to Krakow’s citizens and the tourists. At safe distance from photojournalists and red carpets, artists will meet with their audiences at a specially constructed Film City. The festival provides space for artists who speak in their own voice and take up food-for-thought issues that shape our reality. Its underlying principle is in line with Krakow’s spirit. It relates to free thinking and artistic bohemia; it shows that differences are there not only to divide us, but also to bring us together and inspire action. Funding provided under the Main Feature Film Competition “Making Way” (USD 100,000) and the Polish Feature Film Competition (USD 300,000) will bring new titles to the screen. Many of them are proof that Poland is brimming with interesting film locations. This event paved the way for new projects in the festival market. Off Camera was the first to introduce a TV series section, which evolved into the special SERIALCON project. For over a decade now, Off Camera has continued to combine film-related reflection with academic expertise. Off Camera Pro Industry serves as a platform for active networking and development. Polish actors and Hollywood casting directors are provided with an opportunity to hold workshops together. The festival is quickly gaining ground in social media. Transmitting festival meetings and events helps viewers across Poland learn more about independent cinema and its artists.
Between 27 May and 3 June, the 58th Krakow Film Festival will screen about 250 Polish and international films in four competitions and 14 non-competition sections. For most of the films presented, it will be their première in Poland. The screenings will be accompanied by meetings with artists, workshops, exhibitions, concerts and events intended for the KFF Industry, as well as screenings of new Polish documentaries. Syrian director Talal Derki (“The Return to Homs”) will revisit Krakow with his newest “Of Fathers and Sons” (Sundance winner). Marta Prus and her widely publicised documentary “Over the Limit” will compete for the Polish feature film award. This year’s Dragon of Dragons statue will be awarded to Sergei Loznitsa, multiple KFF awards winner who is well known for his outstanding documentaries. This year’s programme foresees a retrospective of his film work and a master class. Estonian cinematography will be the special guest to this year’s festival. The “Focus on Estonia” section will present most recent documentaries and short films.
“The great finale of the film season in Krakow is the 11th Film Music Festival, acclaimed the world over for its sheer scale – it has been referred to by Hollywood guests as the Cannes of film music. After spending a decade building up our brand, we are opening up to more experimentation and focus on soundtracks from Polish and European cinema. Of course the festival continues to award acclaimed, celebrated composers, but this year it will also present phenomena new to Polish cinematography of recent years,” says Izabela Helbin, Director of the Krakow Festival Office. The 11th Krakow Film Music Festival (May 29 – June 5) is one of the most important festivals of this type in the world. This festival ranks among top international film music festivals. This unique event combines highest quality film music performed by leading musicians and orchestras with high quality image. What makes these monumental music and film spectacles stand out are the boldness of their producers, innovative use of sound and image technology, large-scale performances, high artistic quality and presence of top artists and composers. In Europe, these events remain unparalleled. FMF attracts the contemporary elite of music, culture and film, as well as fans of computer games, cinema and film art. FMF is also a platform for important industry meetings, and stages many world premiers of film music pieces, often attended by internationally acclaimed directors. The festival had the honour of hosting the following Oscar winners: Hans Zimmer, Dario Marianelli, Elliot Goldenthal, Tan Dun, Howard Shore, Jan AP Kaczmarek, outstanding composers: Joe Hisaishi, Shigeru Umebayashi, Don Davis, Alberto Iglesias, Trevor Morris, Patrick Doyle, Garry Schyman, Wojciech Kilar, Abel Korzeniowski, Reinhold Heil, Johnny Klimek, Eric Serra and directors: Tom Tykwer, Julie Taymor and Tomas Alfredson.